Binder, Eando

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The most famous of the joint Pseudonyms used by US writers Earl Andrew Binder (1904-1966), who was born in Austria-Hungary and came to the US in 1910, and Otto Oscar Binder (1911-1975), who was the more active (and ultimately better known) of the two; after approximately 1934, when Earl became inactive as a writer, Otto continued to sign himself Eando Binder, so that some Eando Binder books – they were all published after 1940; several contain pre-1935 material – are collaborative and some by Otto alone. They both used other pseudonyms as well; together, the brothers also wrote eleven stories as John Coleridge and one as Dean D O'Brien, while Otto alone also wrote as Gordon A Giles and, later, as Ione Frances (or Ian Francis) Turek (forms of his wife's maiden name), did some work under the House Name Will Garth, and finally published a couple of novels under his own name. A third brother, Jack Binder [John R Binder] (1902-1988), an illustrator, did much of the early drawing on Captain Marvel, which was regularly scripted by Otto. The brothers all retained the German pronunciation of their surname, with a short i.

Whether solo or collaborative, Otto Binder's best-known works were all published (certainly in book form) as by Eando Binder, beginning with "The First Martian" for Amazing in October 1932. The most significant of Binder's work – the Adam Link series (his name being weightily symbolic) written by Otto alone – is a very early American genre attempt to come to imaginative terms with artificial beings. Adam Link, a sentient, highly anthropomorphic Robot, narrates his own experiences, quite feelingly, as in the first, most famous single tale, "'I, Robot'" (January 1939 Amazing), a title Isaac Asimov took, in acknowledgement of Binder's pioneering work, for his own first book. Most of the Adam Link stories appear in Adam Link – Robot (January 1939-April 1942 Amazing; fixup 1965); further stories in the sequence include "Adam Link Fights a War" (December 1940 Amazing), Adam Link in the Past (February 1941 Amazing; 1950 chap) and "Adam Link Faces a Revolt" (May 1941 Amazing). Though Asimov's somewhat more austere sense of the nature of robots and Robotics was soon to establish itself in the sf field as an almost unbreakable convention, the Adam Link sequence is an important predecessor, significantly treating its robot hero (and his wife, Eve Link) with sympathy.

Binder's other main series, the Anton York tales, all collected in book form as Anton York, Immortal (August 1937-August 1940 Thrilling Wonder; fixup 1965), tells how Anton and his wife achieve Immortality and live with it. Also as Eando Binder, Otto Binder published other, less interesting magazine serials in the 1930s which were only gradually to see book publication. Notable among them are Enslaved Brains (July-September 1934 Wonder Stories; rev Winter 1951 Fantastic Story Quarterly; 1965), and Lords of Creation (23 September-28 October 1939 Argosy; 1949); in the latter, Overlords rule Earth but are resisted with ultimate success. Initially as Gordon A Giles, Otto wrote a ten-story series for Thrilling Wonder Stories, beginning with "Via Etherline" (October 1937 Thrilling Wonder) and ending with "Via Jupiter" (February 1942 Thrilling Wonder) as by Eando Binder (the only story of the series with this byline), in which a spaceship from Earth explores the solar system, finding Martian pyramids on each planet; known as the Via Etherline series, these stories were assembled as Puzzle of the Space Pyramids (October 1937-February 1942 Thrilling Wonder; fixup 1971) as by Eando Binder. Alone and in collaboration, Otto wrote a large number of additional stories that were not part of any sequence; appearing mostly in the Pulp magazines 1933-1942, these were typical of the field before the revolution in quality symbolized (and in part caused) by the arrival of John W Campbell Jr at Astounding. After 1940, Otto did script work on both Captain Marvel (for which he was the main writer) and Superman comics. Though his fiction production decreased, he produced considerable nonfiction work as well as taking on editorial tasks. He became interested in UFOs. He began publishing sf stories again, briefly, 1953-1954, but most of the spate of Binder titles published in the 1960s and 1970s contain material from before World War Two. [JC]

see also: Adam and Eve; Comics; DC Comics; EC Comics; Thrilling Wonder Stories; Time Paradoxes.

Earl Andrew Binder

born Harkaw, Austria-Hungary: 4 October 1904

died October 1966

Otto Oscar Binder

born Bessemer, Michigan: 26 August 1911

died Chestertown, New York: 14 October 1974

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